Greek Tragedy: 3 Events in London
Updated: Mar 30
If you’re looking for a cathartic experience in London, there are some timeless classics from Greek Tragedy being revived and reshaped on stage for you this year (Watch out: two are ending in April!)
1. MEDEA (until 22 April 2023)
By far the must-see event of April is this powerful rendition of Euripides’ Medea in the sparkling new-built theatre at @Sohoplace.* This play was first produced in 431 BC and centres on the actions of Medea, former princess of Colchis, who finds herself abandoned by her husband Jason, after he marries a Greek princess of Corinth.
Sophie Okonedo takes on the arresting role of Medea: “It’s intense and requires a lot of energy, but when you unlock parts of it, it’s so invigorating” whilst Ben Daniels shape-shifts between the role of tutor, Jason, Creon and Aegeus.
Dates: Until 22 April (£20 tickets available in-person at 11am, for same day performance at 7.30pm)
Location: @Sohoplace, Tottenham Court Road
*Enjoy a drink at their constellation-themed Stars restaurant & bar beforehand.
2. PHAEDRA (until 8 April 2023)
You may have read Euripides’ Hippolytus, but did you know that he also wrote a (lost) Phaedra? Drawing on the same mythological series of events, both concern the illicit and divinely-induced love of Phaedra, wife of Theseus and sister of Ariadne, for her step-son Hippolytus.
The ancient Roman playwright Seneca also wrote a version of the tragedy Phaedra, but when his plays were first revived during the Renaissance, it was known as the Hippolytus. The tragedy was performed on stage again in Rome, in Latin, in 1486.
This new spin on the subject at the National Theatre presents Phaedra as a career polititian, shaken by the reappearance of a figure from her past: "As buried lust and loneliness surge to the surface, her actions threaten to destroy everything she has built.”
Dates: Until 8 April (tickets here)
Location: National Theatre, South Bank
3. IPHIGENIA (28-30 June 2023)
For the 70th year anniversary of the KCL Greek Play, this year’s play will be a reimagining of the story of Iphigenia. In the Trojan myth cycle, Agamemnon and his troops are prevented from reaching Troy by Artemis unless he sacrifices his eldest daughter, Iphigenia. Euripides wrote two tragedies drawing on this story: Iphigenia in Tauris and Iphigenia at Aulis.
Dates: 28 – 30 June 2023 (19:00 nightly with 14:30 on the 28th and 29th)
Location: Greenwood Theatre, London Bridge
KCL states: “This year’s play offers a fresh perspective on the multiple moral dilemmas that are so central to the girl’s mythical life, examining the cyclical nature of violence and conflict which impact generations to come.”
If you're interested in Greek tragedy, we will be considering the textual and visual transmission of this genre on our summer course devoted to Classics & the city of Florence: Classics Abroad (Monday 5 - Sat 8 July 2023).